Are the maps available in Mathematica copyright-free? For instance, if I generate the image

GeoRegionValuePlot[{Entity["Country", "USA"] -> 3.2, 
  Entity["Country", "Spain"] -> 5, 
  Entity["Country", "Norway"] -> 4.5}]

enter image description here

Can I use it freely for a journal article? Is that clarified somewhere?


No, they are not copyright-free, but the data they are based on is openly licensed. The map data mainly comes from OpenStreetMaps (which is licensed under the Open Database License, similar to Creative Commons) and so you will need to include OpenStreetMaps Contributors in your attribution.

If you hover over a GeoGraphics, you can see Wolfram's attribution for the tiles in a tooltip, and you can also get it with the following:

Options[GeoGraphics[], MetaInformation]

(replacing GeoGraphics[] with your visualisation). This, for me, returns:

{MetaInformation -> {"GeoModel" -> "ITRF00", 
   "LonLatBox" -> {{-6.534830131189911`, -5.985169868810099`}, \
{53.17551168332133`, 53.50448454653217`}}, 
   "PlotRange" -> {{-6.535491943359375`, -5.98480224609375`}, \
{63.02101135253906`, 63.57307434082031`}}, "Projection" -> "Mercator",
    "Software" -> 
    "Created with the Wolfram Language: www.wolfram.com", 
   "TileSources" -> 
    "Wolfram Knowledgebase with data from © OpenStreetMap \
contributors: http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright"}}

You should include the data in TileSources in your attribution.

OpenStreetMaps data is openly licensed, but as a consequence of "licensing" data in the first place, it must be copyrighted by somebody, in this case OpenStreetMaps. Then, the default tiles themselves (the visual representation of the data) are copyright Wolfram. I also believe much (or all) of the geographic data in Mathematica comes from OpenStreetMaps, as well as the geocoding functionality (which I am assuming uses Nominatim underneath).

I don't believe the satellite imagery used from DigitalGlobe is openly licensed, so you may need to look more closely and perhaps ask WRI whether you can actually reproduce the satellite data in a publication at all.

You could also set GeoServer to an arbitrary tileserver for which you definitely know the attribution and use that, though you will still need to cite Wolfram and likely OpenStreetMaps as well if you do any more than simply display the tiles from your known tileserver.

At the end of the day, you are probably safest to attribute something like:

Wolfram Research, Inc., Wolfram|Alpha Knowledgebase, Champaign, IL (2021).

Map data from Wolfram Knowledgebase with data from © OpenStreetMap contributors: http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

(Self-promotion alert! I know this because I built my own tiles and maps based on OSM data: https://toughsoles.ie/maps)

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Informative answer. And the self-promotion link is just fine, and I would say, almost required. $\endgroup$ – Anton Antonov Mar 30 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I was in two minds about adding it but I did think it might be helpful to show that I had some extra, somewhat uncommon context around the issue. I appreciate your comment. $\endgroup$ – Carl Lange Mar 30 at 19:41

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